Planning Your Pregnancy - Why Is It Important?
Written and reviewed by
Fellowship in Gynae Endoscopy, FMAS, DNB, DGO, MBBS, Fellowship of Indian College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (FICOG), MNAMS
Planning your pregnancy means thinking about what it means to have a baby and making decisions with your partner about the future of your family. Are you ready to be parents now? Or do you want to wait a while?
Certain tips you must follow before you try to get pregnant:
- Schedule a preconception visit: You don't have to have a doctor or midwife lined up to deliver your baby yet, but consult gynaecologist, midwife or family doctor now for a preconception checkup.Your practitioner will likely discuss diet, weight, exercise and any unhealthy habits you may have (such as smoking, drinking, and taking drugs); recommend a multivitamin; make sure you're up to date on your immunizations.
- Take folic acid (and watch out for vitamin A): You can buy folic acid supplements at the drugstore, or you can take a prenatal or regular multivitamin. Check the label on multivitamins to make sure they contain the 400 mcg of folic acid you need.
- Give up binge drinking, smoking, and drugs and get help if you need it: If you smoke or take drugs, now's the time to stop. Many studies have shown that smoking or taking drugs can lead to miscarriage, premature birth and low-birth-weight babies.
- Stock your fridge with healthy foods: You're not eating for two yet, but you should start making nutritious food choices now so your body will be stocked up with the nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy.
- Check your caffeine intake: While there's no consensus on exactly how much caffeine is safe during pregnancy, experts agree that pregnant women and those trying to conceive should avoid consuming large amounts.
- Aim for a healthy weight: You may have an easier time conceiving if you're at a healthy weight. Having a low or high body mass index (BMI) makes it harder for some women to become pregnant.
- Create and follow an exercise program: Start and stick to a fitness plan now, and you'll be rewarded with a healthy body that's fit for pregnancy.
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